Business

Currys owner Dixons sees losses increase to £25.3m

  • 24 November 2011
  • From the section Business

The electrical goods firm Dixons Retail says its focus on improving service is marking it out from its competitors.

First-half losses before tax and one-off items at the group, which owns Currys and PC World, widened to £25.3m loss from £6.9m the year before.

But the fall in same-store sales slowed from 7% in the first three months to 3% in the second quarter.

Dixon's chief executive said that the company's better service strategy was bringing gains in market share.

The company has refitted more than 250 stores and is offering more advice to customers on such things as televisions and personal computing.

The company's statement said these changes were being increasingly recognised by consumers, with surveys showing 71% of customers would now be highly likely to recommend the store, compared with 43% a year ago.

Electrical retailers are suffering particularly badly in the consumer downturn, with many goods easily and cheaply available online.

The US group Best Buy abandoned plans to create a chain of US-style electronics megastores in Europe.

The UK electrical chain Comet is loss-making and is being sold to a private equity firm for just £2.

Dixons chief executive, John Browett, said his company was fighting its corner hard: "In what remains a challenging environment, the pace and impact of improvements in our operating model is driving outperformance versus our competitors and market share gains."

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said it was a good performance in a tricky environment: "Against a backdrop of low expectations, Dixons has exceeded forecasts.

"Market share is being won, with the rate of decline in same-store sales improving. Debt continues to be reduced, while an emphasis on service-led sales is helping to differentiate it from more price driven counterparts."

However, he added: "In all, Dixons remains in a difficult place."

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